Have you ever wondered why it seems as if radio stations only play 25 songs?

As a music fan and someone who’s had a long drive to work for most of his adult life, I’ve listed to a lot of radio, so this is a subject near and dear to my heart.

A writer at FiveThirtyEight attempted to determine “what is classic rock” by analyzing the playlists of 25 classic rock stations in the top 30 US metropolitan markets. In doing so, he he’s unwittingly quantified how radio across America has become homogenized.

Our author crunches a lot of data that ultimately reveals only a few minor regional differences in playlists of classic rock stations. For example, the classic rock station in Denver, CO played slightly more AC/DC songs relative to the average classic rock stations across the US (even though AC/DC is heavily represented in classic rock stations playlists) while the Miami station plays more Billy Joel. The truth is, radio stations have homogenized into a bland sameness wherever you go in the United States. Case and point, the top 25 classic rock songs played June 16th through June 22nd, 2014:

classic rock-1

No surprises with this list. Looks much like a typical playlist for our two local classic rock stations here in Metro Detroit. Here’s a snap-shot of recently played songs from our local classic rock station WCSX.

94.7 WCSX   Detroit   Classic Rock Recently PlayedTalk about sameness, three of the most payed classic rock songs in little over an hour. If you scroll through the recently played list, you can find most of the top 15 list sprinkled throughout the broadcast.

As to why this convergence to blandness has happened, our intrepid FiveThitryEight author interviewed the classic rock brand manager (there’s a hint) at Clear Channel to get a peak behind the curtain:

But clearly it’s not just when a song was released that makes it classic rock. Popularity matters, as does as a band’s longevity, its sound and a bunch of other factors. To find out why some artists are considered classic rock, I spoke to Eric Wellman, the classic rock brand manager for Clear Channel, which owns nine of the 25 radio stations in our data set. He’s also the programming director at New York’s classic rock station, WAXQ. Wellman said release years have nothing to do with what makes a song “classic rock”; the ability of the genre to grow based on consumers’ tastes is one of the things that’s given it such longevity.

In fact, radio stations are using data to make their selection decisions. Wellman said any radio company with the resources conducts regular studies in its major markets to find out what its listeners consider classic rock. And so it’s you, the consumer, who’s helping to define the genre.

“The standard in the industry these days is an online music test or an auditorium music test where you just gather a sample and have them rate songs based on the hooks — the most familiar parts of the song — and you just get back a whole slew of data,” Wellman said. The stations find a cluster of people who like the music that makes up the core of classic rock, and then finds out what else they like. They like R.E.M.? Well, R.E.M. is now classic rock. “It’s really that simple,” Wellman said.

There is more to it than simply surveying a station’s “listeners” to rate songs based on their hooks and saying “o.k. here are the songs that our listeners like, go play these songs.”

Stations need to identify their target demographic, because everything revolves around the listener demographics a station promises to deliver to its advertisers.

Concern about “the demographic cliff” has manifested itself in the continued rollout of second-generation Classic Rockers like Clear Channel’s “Brew” stations. And in the continued march by many Classic Rock stations into the grunge era—the music that was one considered to be a shot across Classic Rock’s bow. One recent evolution took place at Cox’s WSRV (The River) Atlanta, which added Pearl Jam and Lenny Kravitz to a station that had launched with a softer, older version of Classic Hits less than a decade ago.

The correct answer to the “age of the audience” question is never the one that GMs find helpful. Having an audience at the height of its earning potential and disposable income ought to buy the format some respite from the demographic concerns, but never has. So should having the audience that grew up most influenced by radio, and remains most under its sway. But agencies don’t accept that either and so neither do managers.

In the end, a radio station, no matter the format, is about delivering a targeted demographic to advertisers and not about delivering great music to its listeners.

Hopefully, a station somewhere, will try something radical and try playing interesting and different music and gain a huge audience.

Why leftist ideology is wrong about everything

Typical off-the-shelf leftists are continually in full-on Chicken Little mode proclaiming the sky is falling. They wring their hands about “peak oil” and the dreaded “population bomb” all the while proclaiming the solution is an ever bigger government (this is when they tip their hand to what their ultimate goal) when the real solution to our ills is an increasing population:

This is the economic history of humanity in a nutshell: From 2 million or 200,000 or 20,000 or 2,000 years ago until the 18th Century, there was slow growth in population, almost no increase in health or decrease in mortality, slow growth in the availability of natural resources (but not increased scarcity), increase in wealth for a few, and mixed effects on the environment.

Since then there has been rapid growth in population due to spectacular decreases in the death rate, rapid growth in resources, widespread increases in wealth, and an unprecedented clean and beautiful living environment in many parts of the world along with a degraded environment in the poor and socialist parts of the world.

That is, more people and more wealth has correlated with more (rather than less) resources and a cleaner environment – just the opposite of what Malthusian theory leads one to believe.

Of course, when presented with this reasoning your typical leftist will whine “we will use all the natural reeeeeesoooourcccessssss.”

So by any measure, natural resources have getting more available rather than more scarce. Regarding oil, the shocking price rises during the 1970s and 1980s were not caused by growing scarcity in the world supply. And indeed, the price of petroleum in inflation-adjusted dollars has returned to levels about where they were before the politically-induced increases, and the price of gasoline is about at the historic low and still falling.

Concerning energy in general, there is no reason to believe that the supply of energy is finite, or that the price of energy will not continue its long-run decrease forever. I realize that it sounds weird to say that the supply of energy is not finite or limited; for the full argument, please see my 1981 book (revised edition forthcoming) (Science is only valuable when it arrives at knowledge different than common sense.)

Food is an especially important resource. The evidence is particularly strong for food that we are on a benign trend despite rising population. The long-run price of food relative to wages is now only perhaps a tenth as much as it was in 1800 in the U. S. Even relative to consumer products the price of grain is down, due to increased productivity, just as with all other primary products.

Famine deaths due to insufficient food supply have decreased even in absolute terms, let alone relative to population, in the past century, a matter which pertains particularly to the poor countries. Per-person food consumption is up over the last 30 years. And there are no data showing that the bottom of the income scale is faring worse, or even has failed to share in the general improvement, as the average has improved.

This article dovetails nicely with a video from the Adam Smith Institute that is posted here @ MCT from time to time that reinforces the fact that the American Left is full of it.

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Doesn’t this make much more sense that the drivel pumped out by the doom and gloom crowd on the left?

Michigan Gubernatorial Candidate Mark Schauer (D) Admits Voting in Republican Primary

One term Democrat Congressman Mark (hey I voted for Obama’s stimulus… I mean jobs bill) Schauer admits to crossing party lines and voting in Michigan’s 2012 Republican Presidential primary:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer admitted Wednesday he voted Republican in Michigan’s 2012 presidential primary, but declined to say who he voted for.

Democratic President Barack Obama was unopposed in the Feb. 28, 2012 presidential primary.

But Republicans had a closely fought primary between former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan native Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Nine other Republicans were on the crowded primary ballot that year.

What a stand up guy…

“My vote is private, just like everybody else,” Schauer told reporters after an event on women’s issues in Lansing. “That’s a private matter. I mean, there was no competition, there was nothing to vote for on the Democratic side of the ballot. I try not to miss any elections.”

Romney narrowly won Schauer’s home county of Calhoun County in the 2012 presidential primary, garnering 4,801 votes to Santorum’s 4,614 votes. Democratic Party leaders at the time discouraged Democrats from crossing-over to vote for Santorum and deliver Romney a loss in the state where his father was governor.

And this guy want’s to be Governor of our state.

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One other Schauer “fun-fact” is he likes to get his protest on.

More Social Engineering: California Passes Law Restricting High School Tackling Practice

California Democrats support the legalization of marijuana. Kids playing football? Not so much:

California schools will be forced to limit the number of hours and days their football programs’ young athletes can practice tackling and other game-speed hitting plays under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown that responds to concerns over brain injuries that affect thousands of students.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1 and applies to all middle and high schools, including private schools, is being welcomed by some coaches but criticized by others, who caution that it could result in more injuries as lesser-prepared athletes take the field.

The law limits full-contact practices to two 90-minute sessions per week during the season and preseason, and prohibits full-contact practices during the offseason. Currently, coaches can hold full-contact practices daily. The law also forces schools to bench players for at least a week if they suffer a concussion. Current rules allow players to return within a day.

Democrats passing more draconian laws, what could possibly go wrong?

Some coaches said the law, while well-intentioned, could lead to even worse injuries among young athletes because the players won’t have adequate training in safe tackling.

“Unless you practice, you’re not going to know how to protect your head and neck, how to fall properly, or how to tackle someone else safely,” said Chad Nightingale, who has been the head football coach at Salesian High School in Richmond for 19 years. “That’s the irony of this.”

Instruction and practice on dummies is useful, but it’s no replacement for body-on-body contact, he said. A better way to reduce head injuries is to improve helmets and pads, and make sure players wear them properly.

Lib’s won’t rest until we are all playing soccer, because we all know no one ever suffered a concussion playing soccer, right?

Another day, another successful American technology company flees Obama’s America

I am disappointed in Metronic. They are moving their hq. to avoid paying Minnesota taxes. This is what it means to you and me–we have to pay their share. I don’t care how many jobs will be created and how they and our good Gov. Dayton try to whitewash it. It is still avoiding taxes that are owed to this state. Shame on them.

zeldac (from comments @ StarTribune)

Another day, another example of a successful American technology company fleeing the punitive corporate taxes here in Obama’s America. This time it’s Medtronic, the worlds largest medical device manufacturer currently based in Minnesota, that is packing up and moving their headquarters to the emerald shores of Ireland.

Via the very left-wing Minnesota Star Tribune:

The word “ironic” may be used too much, but how else do you describe Medtronic moving its headquarters to Ireland so that it will have more capital to invest in the U.S.?

Buying Covidien PLC for $42.9 billion turned out to be Medtronic’s solution to one of its most vexing problems: How does the global medical device maker use its “trapped cash,” the more than $20 billion in earnings from its non-U.S. subsidiaries, without ­paying a higher U.S. tax rate?

It’s actually trapped by choice, of course, as leaving capital offshore is one of the ways that big companies manage to pay far less in income taxes than the statutory federal rate. Companies would argue that the U.S. tax bite leaves them no real choice.

Another important fact is not only is Medtronc on the hook for an effective 40% corporate tax rate here in the US, as a medical device manufacturer, they are also on the hook for Obama’s 2.3% medical device tax as well.

Again, from the very left wing Star Tribune:

The federal medical device tax that is an ongoing target for the nation’s medical technology sector, including hundreds of businesses in Minnesota, has apparently survived another attack.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently refused to allow an amendment that would have suspended collection of the tax for two years to be attached to a bill that extends current tax measures that are set to expire.

The move likely puts off any action that can actually stop collection of the 2.3 percent levy on device sales for months, if not years.

The tax, projected to yield billions of dollars to finance national health care reform over the next decade, has been in the cross hairs of industry lobbyists since its inception. They say it costs jobs and innovation.

Supporters say it is a fair contribution by the device industry to health care reform that could increase business for companies involved in medical technology.

I guess Obama and his henchmen won’t be collecting a medical device tax from the worlds largest medical device manufacturer either. However, in reality, Medtroic’s customers will be the ones receiving the tax break, since businesses ultimately don’t pay taxes. they pass the taxes on to their customers.

The United States needs to seriously need to look at our tax and regulatory structures. If this situation continues, more corporations are going to make the same calculation Medtroic made (US corporate taxes of 40% + 2.3% medical device tax vs. Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax and no medical device tax) and relocate to a more business friendly climate.

If access to water is a “human right” then why should anyone have to pay a water bill?

The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country.

Lyn Nofziger

Recently, water bills have become a hot topic here in the Detroit area. Due to the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department has stepped water shutoff’s to delinquent ‘customers.

How many people and businesses don’t bother paying their water bill in the city of Detroit? Around 50%.

In March, it was reported that some 165,000 of the water department’s 323,900 business, school, and commercial accounts were overdue, and more than 154,000 of 296,000 residential accounts were delinquent. The department took the position that water bills that were more than 60 days behind, would be shut off. In April, DWSD sent 44,273 shut-off notices, and 3,025 customers were actually shut off for non-payment.

Another way to look at this is Detroit Water and Sewage customers that bother paying their bill are subsidising a whole lot of freeloaders. And, it’s not just DWSD’s paying customers within the city limits who are footing the bill for those not paying.

Oakland County is on the verge of telling Detroit to take its ball and go home.

That ball is the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Today, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ finance committee voted unanimously to create a $3 million fund to study developing an independent water and sewer entity. Currently, DWSD serves 85.6 percent of Oakland County residents and 4 million customers in Southeast Michigan.

Remember how dear leader said it’s good to spread the wealth around? This is exactly what he meant.

Predictably, when it became known DWSD began shutting off water due to non-payment, lefties everywhere pounced making the water shut-offs cause célèbre in many circles.

Nine people were arrested Friday as more than 1,000 people from across the nation rallied in Detroit against the city’s ramped-up effort to collect from delinquent water customers by shutting off service to thousands of residents each month.

Some called the city’s policy a human rights issue; others cited it as a major public health concern.

Following the protesters ‘logic’ that access to free water is a human rights issue, why should anyone pay a water bill?

Our human rights protesters are illustrating Milton Friedman’s classic “Free Lunch Myth” perfectly.

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If someone is truly in need, that’s one thing however, when people blatantly abuse the system, that is an entirely different story.

Obama is that guy at work who complains no one else is working yet never gets anything done himself

Obama is like the guy at your job who constantly complains no one else is working, yet he never gets anything done himself:

“Sometimes I feel like saying to these guys, ‘I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy,’” he said.

This coming from the guy who felt that his working in the private sector was  “Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office. …”

Writing to a former girlfriend, Maraniss says, Obama also “expressed a distaste for the corporate world.” And in his engaging but unreliable memoir “Dreams from My Father,” Obama described his time at Business International this way: “Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office. …” Obama wrote that he took the job only after his applications to several civil rights organizations were ignored.

Obama subsequently quit Business International, became a community organizer, attended law school, briefly practiced public interest law, taught a college class and got into politics. He had several jobs, but never again in business.

Yet as Obama told it in “Dreams from My Father,” he sometimes felt tempted to sell out during his time at Business International. After getting a promotion, Obama wrote, “I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors — see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in hand — and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.”

Maraniss discovered most of that wasn’t true; while Obama did have a tiny office, he didn’t have his own secretary, didn’t meet with financiers and bond traders, didn’t even wear a suit to work. But the one true thing in that passage is Obama’s antipathy for the business world.

What Dear Leader really likes is golf:

Obama plays golf

Lots and lots of golf…

Fighting the Zeta Cartel: Armed Mexican Citizens Doing the Job Their Government Can’t or Won’t Do

To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it.

James Madison, Federalist #46 

Another example of armed citizens stepping in when government can’t or won’t do the job they’re tasked to do:

But almost three years after his brutal abduction, Guerrero, who is now the mayor, says his town has become safer, the kidnappers scared to enter.

This change is not due to the police, he says, but to a clandestine vigilante group known as the Pedro Mendez Column, named after a local general who fought the French in the 19th century.

The column hands out leaflets declaring it operates night patrols to defend the community from the feared Zetas cartel, which is behind most of the kidnapping. The vigilantes have also claimed responsibility for several murders of alleged Zeta members, including two men shot dead in January.

“The column only kills kidnappers and drug traffickers. They don’t allow extortion or threaten honest people,” Guerrero told GlobalPost, speaking in his town hall, which is decorated with paintings of Mexico’s independence and revolutionary heroes. “It is much safer with them.”

Another interesting point is how Mexico’s ‘strict’ firearm ban is being circumvented, first by the cartels and kidnappers and then by average Mexicans desperate to protect themselves.

This is the latest expression of a vigilante movement in Mexico that’s expanding from the southern mountains to areas near the United States border like Hidalgo, in Tamaulipas state.

The vigilantes are rising after the Mexican government failed to stop the country from becoming a world kidnap capital, with more than 1,600 reported abductions in 2013, the worst year on record. There have been more than 70,000 cartel-related killings since 2006.

But human rights groups warn that vigilantes may only add to Mexico’s cycle of violence — a severe problem in border states like Tamaulipas, which suffers shoot-outs that have caused temporary shutdowns of crossings into Texas.

Bordering the Rio Grande valley and the cities of Brownsville and Laredo, Tamaulipas lies along a major US-Mexico trade route, with tens of thousands of trucks of goods crossing daily, as well as many undocumented migrants and drug loads.

Only a ‘human rights group’ can look at the violence being perpetrated by the drug cartels against average Mexican citizens and utter the words ‘cycle of violence.’